FlightAware Discussions

What does your setup look like?

Hello everyone. I’m Scott, an EMT, Emergency Dispatcher, UAV Enthusiast and Storm Chaser. I picked up ADS-B recently and just wanted to introduce myself.

I’m not new to FlightAware or RTL-SDRs, but I am new to RaspberryPi and ADS-B tracking. I’m still working on my setup and about to upgrade my antenna this week with a FlightAware 26” antenna with about 15’ LMR400 cable. I wanted to go with 3’ to reduce dB loss but I don’t have access to a weather proof box just yet (they’re kind of pricey).

Here’s my current setup:
-RaspberryPi 4 with Raspbian OS
-Cheap telescopic antenna that came with my original RTL-SDR NooElec Nesdr Smart (collapsed all the way down, of course)
-FlightAware ProStick Plus (upgraded last week…made about 50% coverage improvement)
-Coffee Can ground plane (temporary until I receive my new antenna).
-Feeding to FlightAware, FlightRadar24, RadarBox24 and ADSBExchange.

I live on the bottom floor of a 3 story apartment complex with my own fenced in back yard. My height for antenna placement is limited severely, however, I’m still able to reach about 100 NM out on average with random flights between 150-200 at times with my current setup. I haven’t seen any posts really detailing and showing everyone’s current setups so I’ll show mine and see if you all have any suggestions for improvement beyond the new antenna.

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My Reciver in a Christmas Box Edition :smiley:

My temporary Antenna position, meanwhile it’s fixed with sealed connectors and new cabling

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With LMR400 that length is not an issue at all, minimal loss.

You can put some weather resistant tape over the base of the FA antenna to reduce chance of water ingress. (the N connector is water proof, but a bit of extra can’t hurt)

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+1 for the outdoor Q-tip design … An Introductory Note About DIY Antennas

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I also have a version in a more traditional outdoor box that uses wifi and a 12V AC adapter … An Introductory Note About DIY Antennas

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Once you have a stable performance graph, try it without the USB extension cable. Several of us have observed significant performance degradation with even short cables.

Like me

I have a 3 Meter and a 1.5 Meter USB extension. Running fine with the longer one, changed to the shorter one because i did not need the longer.

Bam, performance loss of 30-40% overall.

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So what you’re saying is that by using the longer extension cable, you saw a performance ‘increase’? I’m slightly confused by the way you put ‘Bam, performance loss’ right after saying that you switched to the shorter cable.

I’ll try plugging the FA stick directly into the port on the Pi4 and see what results I get. I don’t have any graphs other than what FA and FlightRadar24 provide. I use dump1090 connected to Virtual Radar Server so I should be able to see if I get an increase in flights tracked live if I do it fast enough.

He’s saying that the quality of cables differs wildly and there is no real way to determine quality than by trial and error when it comes to USB extension cables.

On the Pi4 it’s probably less problematic as it provides a more stable 5 V on the USB ports.

Also install graphs, there is no substitute for that when it comes to tweaking: https://github.com/wiedehopf/graphs1090#graphs1090

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Wonder why such threads are always going into the same discussion :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

F/A antenna --> 1ft LMR400 --> Uputronics Ceramic LNA --> 15ft LMR400 --> Airspy R2 --> USB to Pi4 powered by PoE

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I got the new FA 1090 stick in yesterday. I’m definitely picking up more aircraft but still limited on range due to being on the bottom level of a 3 story apartment complex. Best location I have to mount the antenna is out on the fence a bit.

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I’ve been feeding for one month now (started Nov 6/2019).
My setup:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 B+ 1 GB RAM

  • Added hardware clock

  • 3D printed case

  • Running raspbian with PiAware add-on

  • $10 eBay DVB-T SDR for 433 mhz weather sensors feeding WeeWx (and others)

  • FlightAware Pro Stick Plus (Blue), plugged directly into the RPi

  • 25’ RG58 cable (N to SMA)

  • ADSBExchange dual 1090/978 mhz antenna

  • Mounting hardware from Lowes

The antenna is mounted almost at the apex of the 2nd story. My range jumped significantly the day I mounted it on the roof. I used advice from this forum on setting gain to dial things in further. I do have the orange FA Pro Stick as I planned to add 978 mhz, but in my testing, it had very little ROI. Although I’m usually at the top for flights/positions in my area, I’m always looking for advice to improve things further.

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That’s a nice tidy installation, I like it.
Out of interest, why do you have the hardware clock on the Pi because as soon as it goes online, it’ll use internet time to set the internal clock.

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In the hardware list you’ve forgotten the cat. Seem to be important as well.

Why? Because cats are always important :smiley:

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Good catch. The hardware clock was a build recommendation for the weather station, if running in local mode. Cheap and easy enough to add, but not required for PiAware.

That’s what’s wrong with my setup. I forgot to install my cat! :man_facepalming:t3:

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Can’t evade the cat tax at my house (although I tried). :grin:

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Nice, I like how the box has a label on it.

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